Monday, November 3, 2014

Formulas From the Golden Cabinet with Songs

"There is a defining moment in the study of Chinese language when you realize that the page of text you are looking at is actually right side up. While this seems like a ridiculously simple skill, it is, in fact, one of the cornerstones on which one builds a foundation of understanding. In any endeavor, we must be able to orient ourselves; we need a compass that helps us to navigate." 
 -Michael Max-

Eran Even, owner of Rocky Point Acupuncture in Port Moody Vancouver, has navigated the world of classical Chinese language and translation and has produced an incredible new book titled Formulas From the Golden Cabinet with Songs. This is a translation of Chen Xiuyuan pivotal work discussing the Jing Gui Fang Ge Kuo volumes IV-VI. These volumes are commentaries on the formulas that appear in chapters twelve to twenty three of the Jin Gui Yao Lue ( Essential from the Golden Cabinet), the famous Han Dynasty formulary and companion volume to the Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Cold Damage) by Zhang Zhongjing.

  This is a monumental task as many of these chapters had not been translated into English and this is what inspired Eran to complete this work. As one reads Eran's book, it cannot be helped to catch a glimpse into historical medical practices, learning and thought processes of the time, but also we can envision a medical intervention plan to care for the sick at a time when Western medicine and its tools were infants or did not exist at all.

  Many practitioners of today may ask, "why should I study these books?" A fair question, but as Eran points out so eloquently that all formulas utilized today have mostly all come from traditional formulas. It is the essence of understanding the formula and how it was designed. It was not designed with biochemical analysis, but a thorough understanding of flavor relationships and the interaction of the six conformations (Taiyang-Jueyin). These formulas are based on thousands of years of great success and the test today is to apply these to modern clinical situations and observe their respective efficacy.

  Eran Even is not a hobbyist translator either. Eran began his studies in Chinese medicine and language in Vancouver and continued in China at the Beijing University of Chinese medicine training  under one of China's great acupuncturists, Dr. Bai Yu Lan, to further his understanding of Chinese medicine. He also studied under Professor Fan Zheng Lun at the Ping Xin Tang clinic and with Dr. Huang Huang at his clinic in Nanjing. This experience is what Eran brings to his work, his life, and his book that he has painstakingly translated over the past several years. It is a book to not only keep on your shelf, but to exhaust its wealth of information in your clinical experience.

  Volume 1-3 of this translation was first produced by Sabine Wilms.  Even though this episode was with Eran Even, her dedication and work in the translation of the first 3 volumes cannot be understated or overlooked for a second.  Click here to see Sabine's other publications.

  Eran and his wife Christine also have a business that includes plant-based oils and essential oils, along with food-grade ingredients and Chinese herbs, to make products that are both highly effective and honestly natural. They have a consistent philosophy to test their products on the "two-legged" participants and not the animal kingdom. Their skin care line is called Sola Skincare and they are skillful at choosing ingredients based on their specific properties to enhance one's skin. Here are a few examples.

Sola Skin Care Products

"Translating texts such as the Jin Gui Fang Ge Kuo is difficult at best, and Eran has done a marvelous job in rendering the original Qing Dynasty Chinese into English. This is an important achievement that deserves wide study" 
-Z'ev Rosenberg-

Coupon Code: podcast


  1. FYI, the code at Chinese Medicine Database says it expired on Oct. 26th.

    1. Thanks for the heads up! We'll get that changed as soon as possible.

  2. the image is of a tea cup with Japanese proverbs on it.

    1. A good image of a piece being actively translated is a difficult one to find. Any recommendations?

  3. A Great Podcast Fellas ! As a full time practitioner who deals with very serious issues on a daily basis , it is refreshing to listen to a light hearted approach that still discusses important and interesting topics . Thank you both Chris and Travis for all your efforts. It is important to have a venue for relaxed and fun discussion of Chinese Medicine topics .

    For those wanting to discuss further details of Eran's book , and ask more in-depth questions , I would like to direct people to Eran Even's Facebook Page of his website Chinese Medicine Case ( ) ( can someone post a link ? )
    Here I plan to ask Dr Even further questions , such as Why translate Chen Yuan Xi's commentary first above others ? etc ...

    For the very Cheeky Sir Chris Powell ( you have been recently knighted for your humour and your service to the industry ) , I will say....." over here in australia we don't get bitten by snakes because our skin is too tough! hahahaha , or if by chance we do, we must first wrestle a crocodile whilst chanting the sacred Mantra " CRIKEE!! " several times before any treatment will work .... hahahaha ;) "

    ( I have learnt some classical treatments for Dog bite and rabies from Dr Huang Huang , but not snakes )

    But on a more serious note, regarding the analogy of the Classics being a " model T ford vs a Ferrari " , I think there was an important point missed here .
    The reason to study the classics in Chinese Medicine , is to gain understanding about formula construction , herb ratio and most importantly Pathophysiology . Dr Zev Rosenburg in his excellent Forward to the Dr Even's translation of the JIN GUI FANG GE KUO mentioned this very point ( please look it up ) .

    SO , studying the classics is not like a Model T Ford, its more like having a mechanic who clearly understands the internal combustion engine , and who can FIX your Ferrari ! We can learn a lot about Patho-dynamics form studying the Classics , especially the Jin Gui which focuses on disease groups such as jaundice , which is why a commentary on it is so interesting.
    Many of the Formulas are very streamlined in the Classics , and can work quickly when applied correctly , so I would venture to say that it is the Classics that are like a Ferrari !

    Whatever style of Herbal Medicine we choose to practice , these are the " grandfather Formulas " from which many modern formulas have sprung. It is important to at least understand and be familiar with the roots of our medicine ...